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Copy-Paste? The Role of Institutional Isomorphism in the Construction of the Common Security and Defence Policy

Moritz Reinsch

Although the EU is a very different collective security 'actor' from NATO, many of the institutional structures of theCommon Security and Defence Policy closely resemble those of the trans-Atlantic alliance. Why is this so? Thispaper will argue that there is a need to locate the CSDP within the dense and complex regime of Europeansecurity, thus exploring the role of institutional isomorphism. Accordingly, the CSDP's linkage with NATO providesthe former with templates for the organisation of its political-military nexus (PSC-EUMC-EUMS) and the evolutionof operational instruments (see the Battlegroups concept). In order to illustrate the nature of this relationship theargument draws on different processes of isomorphic change (coercive, mimetic, normative). This paper forwardsthree drivers of isomorphic change constituted at the inter-institutional level: 1) the CSDP's resource dependenceon NATO (coercive); 2) the CSDP's strategic ambiguity (mimetic/normative); and 3) the double-hatting/turnover ofCSDP and NATO political-military personnel (coercive/mimetic). While this study is specifically aimed at providinga more complete understanding of the dynamics involved in the CSDP's institution-building, it also provides thegroundwork to exploring the relevance of a reverse process, e.g. where NATO draws lessons from the CSDP'scivilian crisis management institutions.

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